Summer camps abound for children of all ages. Is there a “best” age to send your child to camp? Experts recommend that children be at least 7 years old before attending overnight camp. Younger children are likely to have more difficulties adjusting to the separation from home and family, and older teens could have difficulty fitting in at an established camp with kids who have been attending year after year. So what is the best age?
Every child is different, so parents have to use their judgment in determining a child’s readiness for camp. In addition, the type of camp (day camp or overnight), the distance from home, and the camp’s structure and philosophy are all factors in determining suitability for your child.
Young children are typically not ready for overnight camp, although some children younger than 7 may do well depending upon maturity level and prior overnight experience. However, these children can thrive at a day camp, getting a taste of the summer camp experience without the concern about overnights away from home.
Children will experience structured fun and exposure to the camp environment and activities, while still having the security of home and family in the evenings. When selecting a camp for a young child, look for one that focuses on preschool and primary grades and that provides a good mix of activities so your child will have the opportunity to experience a lot of new things.
While some children aged 8 to 10 may still be more comfortable with day camp, many in this age range are ready for overnight camp and have no problem being away from home for a week or longer. Children of this age are developing interest in specific activities such as art, sports, or music, so it’s important to select a camp that appeals to your child’s budding interests.
Children in this age group become more focused on individual achievement, so look for a camp with a specialty that appeals to your child’s talents and interests, while still providing opportunities for new experiences. A summer camp with a wide variety of activities will allow your child to try different things and gain new skills in a supportive and non-threatening environment. Considering a camp that caters to this age range will make your child feel more comfortable in group activities.
Kids in the mid-teens often face doubts about their identity and abilities, so choose a camp that provides opportunities for your child to succeed. If she’s passionate about a particular activity, consider a camp that specializes in that activity; if her interests are more widespread and varied, look for a camp where she can try many different things. If this is your child’s first time at camp, talk to the camp staff about how they integrate new campers with returners.
So, what is the best age for summer camp? Any age, as long as the selected camp is the right fit for your child. If you haven’t reserved your camper’s spot for the next summer camp session, call Pali Adventures today, where every camper gets to choose their own adventure!